Two Colorado Springs councilmen said they were sticking to their principles Tuesday when they voted against a resolution opposing three ballot measures their colleagues called “evil,” “dangerous” and the work of anarchists.
“While I oppose these individual amendments, I oppose even more elected bodies trying to collectively tell the voters how they should vote,” said Councilman Sean Paige, who voted against the resolution with Councilman Tom Gallagher.
Their opposition triggered an impassioned denunciation of Amendment 60, Amendment 61 and Proposition 101 from Vice Mayor Larry Small, who also indirectly chastised the two councilmen.
“I don’t think you can accept something like this and let the city go down in flames just to be neutral and impartial,” Small said.
Amendment 60 would cut school-related property taxes and re-impose spending and revenue limits. It also calls for “state aid” to refill school coffers.
Amendment 61 would restrict state and local borrowing.
Proposition 101 would cut car license fees, the state income tax and fees that show up on phone bills.
Small said the two amendments would alter the state constitution.
“This is not a comic book we’re editing here. This is the state constitution that’s being edited by people who don’t even have the courage to stand up and say who they are,” Small said during Tuesday’s council meeting, his voice growing loud.
“They came together in a dark room and they crafted these things and ... then use buzz words that sound really appealing, but they don’t have the courage to really tell you what they’re trying to do,” he said.
“They’re trying to create anarchy within our state! That’s what they’re actually trying to do!” he said, almost yelling. “Now, I’m not going to idly sit by and watch anarchists take over control of our city or our county or our state. That is not what I am elected to do.”
If Colorado voters approve all three measures in November, they would cost the city $50.5 million over four years, Mayor Lionel Rivera said.
“I think we have seen, all of us, over time, the amount of cutbacks we have had to do just with the downturn in the economy,” Rivera said. “Having to pile this on top of what we have already had to do will be very detrimental to our community.”
Paige and Gallagher agreed, but they said the council’s resolution could lead voters to support all three measures.
“There’s a lot of angst and anger out there directed at government,” Gallagher said. “If government says it’s bad, it must be good for the citizens, and that is the sentiment that is out there.”
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